Joe Wyatt
Published September 23, 2021

According to a survey conducted by Amarillo College, almost all students at AC who are parents of young children experience some level of stress, much of which they attribute to the challenges of finding and affording childcare.


Fortunately, a grant the College received in September from the U.S. Department of Education will greatly lessen the childcare burden for some of AC’s most economically disadvantaged student-parents.


The four-year grant is valued at a total of $678,992.


Under terms of the grant, the College will receive $169,748 per year to provide students with childcare subsidy vouchers to cover costs at AC’s Hagy Childcare Center or AC’s Child Development Lab School. Participants must meet Federal Pell Grant and income-eligibility guidelines.


Selected participants also will receive comprehensive educational and social support services, along with case-management assistance to monitor their academic progress at AC and ensure they succeed, persist and graduate.


“This is a most gratifying award because it gives us the wherewithal to help some of our student-parents who struggle most with childcare affordability,” said Denese Skinner, vice president of student affairs.


“We recently surveyed student-parents at AC, and the difficulties they face in finding and/or affording childcare is frequently cited as being among their foremost challenges faced. This funding will help us address some of our students’ needs.”


Unfortunately, the grant will be unable to address all of AC’s many student-parent childcare needs. Data drawn from AC students who applied in 2020 for Federal Financial Aid reveals that 1,724 of those students also are parents – almost 24 percent of the student body. Among those 1,724 student-parents, 58.64 percent consider themselves single parents; 88 percent are Pell eligible; and 77.28 percent are the first in their family to attend college.


“Our well of need is deep,” Skinner said, “so we must continue to seek additional sources of financial support to provide assistance for a great many more of our student-parents who need it.”


The grant will be administered by Dennis Sarine, director of teacher preparation & early childhood education, 806-371-5188.